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Ex more docti mystico

The fast, as taught by holy lore

The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal

  1. Ex more docti mystico
    Servemus hoc jejunium,
    Deno dierum circulo
    Ducto quater notissimo.
  2. Lex et prophet&ælig; primitus
    Hoc prætulerunt, postmodum
    Christus sacravit, omnium
    Rex atque factor temporum.
  3. Utamur ergo parcius
    Verbis, cibis et potibus,
    Somno, jocis et artius
    Perstemus in custodia.
  4. Vitemus autem noxia,
    Quæ subruunt mentes vagas,
    Nullumque demus callidi
    Hosti locum tyrannidi.
  5. Flectamus iram vindicem,
    Ploremus ante judicem,
    Clamemus ore supplici,
    Dicamus omnes cernui:
  6. Nostris malis offendimus
    Tuam Deus clementiam;
    Effunde nobis desuper,
    Remissor, indulgentiam.
  7. Memento quod sumus tui,
    Licet caduci, plasmatis:
    Ne des honorem nominis
    Tui, precamur, alteri.
  8. Laxa malum quod fecimus,
    Auge bonum quod poscimus,
    Placere quo tandem tibi
    Possimus hic, et perpetim.
  9. Præsta, beata Trinitas,
    Concede, simplex Unitas,
    Ut fructuosa sint tuis
    Jejuniorum munera.
  1. The fast, as taught by holy lore,
    We keep in solemn course once more:
    The fast to all men known, and bound
    In forty days of yearly round.
  2. The law and seers that were of old
    In divers ways this Lent foretold,
    Which Christ, all seasons’ King and Guide,
    In after ages sanctified.
  3. More sparing therefore let us make
    The words we speak, the good we take,
    Our sleep and mirth,-and closer barred
    Be every sense in holy guard.
  4. Avoid the evil thoughts that roll
    Like water o’er the heedless soul;
    Nor let the foe occasion find
    Our souls in slavery to bind.
  5. In prayer together let us fall,
    And cry for mercy, one and all,
    And weep before the Judge’s feet,
    And dHis avenging wrath entreat.
  6. The grace have we offended sore,
    By sins, O God, which we deplore;
    But pour upon us from on high,
    O pardoning One, Thy clemency.
  7. Remember Thou, though frail we be,
    That yet Thine handiwork are we;
    Nor let the honor of Thy Name
    Be by another put to shame.
  8. Forgive the sin that we have wrought;
    Increase the good that we have sought:
    That we at length, our wanderings o’er,
    May please Thee here and evermore.
  9. Grant, O Thou Blessed Trinity,
    Grant, O Essential Unity,
    That this our fast of forty days
    May work our profit and Thy praise.
Author: Ascribed to Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-604) Meter: Iambic dimeter. Translation by J. M. Neale. There are twelve translations. Liturgical Use: Matins hymn on Sundays and week-days during Lent.
  1. “Taught by mystic use, let us observe this fast, which is completed in the well known tenfold round of days taken four times.” More mystico, sacred tradition. The Lenten fast is of very ancient, if not of apostolic origin. A similar fast was observed by the prophets Moses (Ex. 34, 28) and Elias (III Kings 19, 7-8). Deno, see denus in the Glossary. Some texts have denun (=denorum). The following is Neale’s translation of this stanza rewritten in Hymns Ancient and Modern:
    By precepts taught of ages past,
    Now let us keep again the fast
    Which, year by year, in order meet
    Of forty days is made complete.
    By precepts taught of ages past, Now let us keep again the fast Which, year by year, in order meet Of forty days is made complete.
  2. “The law and the prophets first revealed this; afterwards Christ, the king and maker of all seasons, sanctified it.” Hoc, sc. jejunium, the Lenten fast. Lex et prophetæ: By the law is meant the Mosaic Law, the Pentatuch; by the prophets, the later books of the Old Testament. Lex et prophetæ usque ad Joannem (Luke 16, 16).
  3. “Let us, therefore, use more sparingly words, food, and drink, sleep and jests, and let us remain severely steadfast on our guard.”
  4. “Moreover, let us avoid those hurtful things which subvert fickle souls; and let us give no occasion for the tyranny of the cunning foe.”
  5. “May we, weeping before the Judge, soften His avenging wrath; let us cry aloud with suppliant voices, and prostrate let us all say: ‘By our sins, O God, we have offended Thy goodness; pour our upon us from on high, O forgiver of sins, Thy mercy.’”
  6. “Remember that we are Thy creatures (tui plasmatis) though frail; we beseech Thee that Thou give not to another the honor of Thy Name.” Plasmatis, the genitive denoting possession with esse; of Thy making, creation. Alteri, to Satan, the enemy of the human race.
  7. “Pardon the evil we have done; increase the good for which we pray, that we may at length be able to please Thee here and in eternity.”